Harry Would Have Never Done This If It Wasn't for Meghan, Sources Say
"It's highly unlikely it would have happened without her influence," an insider said.
Prince Harry may have an official ghostwriter—Pulitzer-prize-winning author J.R. Moehringer—working on his upcoming memoir due out next year, but insiders say he will also look to another person in his life for advice and inspiration: Duchess Meghan, herself a best-selling author. Before joining the Royal Family in 2018, Meghan had established herself as a smart and insightful writer with her popular lifestyle blog The Tig (named after her favorite Italian red wine, Tignanello). When she shuttered the site in 2017, she left her followers with this message: "Keep finding those Tig moments of discovery, keep laughing and taking risks, and keep being 'the change you wish to see in the world.' Above all, don't ever forget your worth—as I've told you time and time again: you, my sweet friend, you are enough."
There's little doubt Meghan has offered similar words of encouragement to Harry as he undertakes writing his life story, which she likely encouraged him to publish in the first place. "Harry isn't generally thought of as the 'literary' type whereas Meghan has always understood and utilized the power of the written word," an insider told Best Life. "It's highly unlikely [the book] would have happened without her influence."
Grant Harrold, former butler for the Prince of Wales, told the Express that Harry writing a memoir is "rather unique," as few royals have done so (with the notable exception of Sarah, the Duchess of York, who released two books). "He wants his feelings and views heard," Harrold said.
Those feelings and views will likely include the duke's take on the transformative effect Meghan has had on his life. After all, in their bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March, Harry said of Meghan: "Without question, she saved me."
A source who "knows the prince well" told The Sunday Times that Harry's new life with Meghan in the States will inform much of his approach to the book. The insider said: "In his new Californian guise, I think he'll tell it honestly, framed in the context of his 'journey' towards 'healing.'"
It's also possible that Meghan could contribute more directly to the highly anticipated tome. Harrold told the Express: "As Prince Harry's wife, I have no doubt Meghan will be there to assist him with this book and possibly its content too."
Meghan is surely an experienced enough writer to help her husband polish his prose as well as serve as a third set of eyes during the writing and editing process. Read on for a list of her literary accomplishments that could qualify her as an unofficial editor on Harry's book.
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In 2017, Meghan inspired a cookbook after the Grenfell Tower fire.
In 2017, Meghan made under-the-radar visits to the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire. The duchess came to know a group of local women who gathered at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre in West London, where they cooked for the community twice a week. The group became known as the Hubb Community Kitchen (hubb means "love" in Arabic) and in 2018, they launched a cookbook of 50 recipes that celebrated the power of community in the aftermath of the terrible tragedy, an idea inspired by Meghan.
Zahira Ghaswala, kitchen coordinator at Al Manaar, told The Guardian it was a "passing conversation" with Meghan that led to the cookbook, titled Together: Our Community Cookbook. "The duchess had asked why the kitchen was not open seven days. And I said 'funding.' And then we offered her the food," she recalled. "She saw the lovely food cooked by these women. So she goes: 'Why not do a cookbook?' At that time I thought it was a flying comment and that was it really. But now, here we are."
The Duchess of Sussex chose to support the cookbook as her first solo effort since joining the Royal Family and wrote the foreword for it, where she described her first visit. "An apron was quickly wrapped around me, I pushed up my sleeves and I found myself washing the rice for lunch," it read in part. "All the aromas percolating in a kitchen filled with countless languages aflutter remains one of my most treasured memories from my first visit to the kitchen."
To celebrate the book's publication in Sept. 2018, Meghan hosted a party on the grounds of Kensington Palace, which Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, and Harry attended to show their support. The prince was happily caught on camera sneaking samples of samosas as he mingled with other attendees.
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She guest edited the 2019 September issue of British Vogue.
Meghan went where no royal had ever gone before and guest edited the September issue of British Vogue in 2019. It was the first time a coveted September installment, historically the magazine's biggest, had been co-edited by anyone (the duchess worked with the magazine's editor-in-chief Edward Enninful).
For the issue, aptly titled "Forces for Change," Meghan and Enninful assembled an impressive roster of female advocates and activists including Jane Fonda, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Michelle Obama (who did a Q&A with Meghan via email), Greta Thunberg, Zendaya, and Jane Goodall (who was interviewed by Harry for the issue).
The duchess undertook the project during her maternity leave from her royal responsibilities while pregnant with her first child, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor. Meghan made headlines when she chose not to appear on the magazine's cover (as Princess Diana and Duchess Kate have done) but instead decided to feature a grid of 15 influential women with one reflective square representing a mirror for the reader.
The duchess cited a passage from The Four-Chambered Heart by Anaïs Nin in her editor's letter that embodied her philosophy for the issue: "'I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.' For this issue, I imagined, why would we swim in the shallow end of the pool when we could go to the deep end? A metaphor for life, as well as for this issue. Let's be braver. Let's go a bit deeper."
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She wrote an essay about her miscarriage in The New York Times in Nov. 2020.
In Nov. 2020, Meghan wrote a heartbreaking essay for The New York Times in which she revealed she had had a miscarriage earlier that year. Titled "The Losses We Share," Meghan used the essay to put her own experience in the larger context of the COVID pandemic, encouraging anyone who lost someone and felt isolated during the traumatic year to reach out to others in order to heal.
She began the piece writing: "Perhaps the path to healing begins with three simple words: Are you OK?" The question was evocative of her interview with Tom Bradby for the 2019 ITV documentary Harry & Meghan: An African Journey. When the reporter asked the duchess how she was doing adjusting to life as a member of the Royal Family, she looked to be near tears as she told him: "Thank you for asking. Not many people have asked if I'm OK."
In the New York Times essay, Meghan poignantly recounted her routine of that terrible July morning when she miscarried. "Make breakfast. Feed the dogs. Take vitamins. Find that missing sock. Pick up the rogue crayon that rolled under the table," she wrote. But then, after changing her son's diaper, she felt a "sharp cramp." "I dropped to the floor with [Archie] in my arms, humming a lullaby to keep us both calm, the cheerful tune a stark contrast to my sense that something was not right," she wrote. "I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second."
Meghan wrote of the need for banishing the "(unwarranted) shame" associated with pregnancy loss that perpetuates "a cycle of solitary mourning." She suggested that collective empathy and compassion is the solution. "We have learned that when people ask how any of us are doing, and when they really listen to the answer, with an open heart and mind, the load of grief often becomes lighter—for all of us," she wrote. "In being invited to share our pain, together we take the first steps toward healing."
She just released her first children's book, The Bench, in June.
This year, Meghan published The Bench, her first children's book, which was inspired by the bond between Harry and Archie. The duchess told NPR that she gave Harry a bench for his first Father's Day. "I just wanted something sentimental and a place for him to have as a bit of a home base with our son," she recalled to the outlet of the gift. Meghan also wrote a poem for her husband that she had made into a plaque for the back of the bench which reads: "This is your bench. Where life will begin/For you and our son/Our baby, our kin."
The book features charming illustrations by Caldecott Honor recipient Christian Robinson with several clearly inspired by Harry and Archie (even their dogs, Guy, a beagle, and Pula, a black Labrador retriever, make an appearance). It tells the story of how a bench became a place for celebration and comfort for the fathers and sons that populate its pages. "It's a love story," Meghan told NPR of the book. "It's really just about growing with someone and having this deep connection and this trust so that, be it good times or bad, you know that you had this person. I really hope that people can see this as a love story that transcends the story of my family."
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Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.